SHERIDAN — Clean Water Sheridan has hired an attorney and announced it will file for a declaratory judgment and mandatory injunction against the city of Sheridan in order to halt the addition of fluoride to Sheridan’s water supply.
The group, which became an official nonprofit association Wednesday, is contending that a vote in the general election of 1953 that enacted a ballot resolution to end water fluoridation can only be overturned by a new vote of the people.
According to a press release, Clean Water Sheridan further contends that City Council overstepped its bounds in 2010 by passing a resolution that negated the results of the binding vote of 1953.
The 2010 resolution directed the public works department to adjust the level of fluoride in the water supply to optimal levels.
At this point, the Environmental Protection Agency has set the maximum contaminant level for fluoride in a water supply at 4 parts per million. The EPA has also set a secondary standard recommending the maximum level be 2 parts per million. Secondary standards are nonenforceable guidelines regulating contaminants that may cause cosmetic effects, such as skin or tooth discoloration, in drinking water.
Sheridan officials will use a supervisory control and data acquisition system to keep fluoride levels in Sheridan’s water at 0.7 ppm.
Public Works Director Nic Bateson said the city hopes to have a fluoridation system installed at both water treatment plants by some time in August. The systems were originally slated to be installed by June, but the complexity of the conventional upgrades and the high summer water demand at the treatment plants pushed the total project timeline back.
Bateson said the revised timeline for fluoridation system installation in August has not changed. He said he is not sure when the system will be started up but that the city will notify the community when the system is installed and when fluoridation begins.
Clean Water Sheridan was established more than a year ago to fight the addition of fluoride to Sheridan’s water, operating a grassroots effort that included public education and gathering signatures on a petition against fluoridation.
The group became an official nonprofit association on Wednesday, just a week after hiring Cheyenne-based attorney Robert Moxley to represent its case. Moxley specializes in civil rights litigation and cases involving government overreach, according to his website.
Marty DaBell, a member of Clean Water Sheridan, said the group received an anonymous donation in June that provided the needed funds to hire legal counsel.
“We knew it would likely come to the point where someone in power would have to make a decision,” DaBell said.
DaBell said the group tried to find a local attorney but was unsuccessful. Moxley was recommended as an option.
Clean Water Sheridan contends that fluoride can cause medical problems for bottle fed infants, diabetics and kidney and thyroid patients, according to its press release. The group also contends fluoride is available to anyone who wishes to use it but costly and difficult to remove for residents who do not wish to consume it.
Those in support of water fluoridation say it strengthens teeth and helps prevent tooth decay, especially in lower-income families who may not be able to afford regular dental visits.